Before Veronica R. went under the knife for a labiaplasty procedure, the 28-year-old Manhattanite joked around with plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Swift about the anticipated results.
“Make me look like Barbie!” she told him, with a laugh.
The striking model, who asked for her last name not to be used for professional reasons, underwent the surgery in September, because she was self-conscious about the size of the labia minora (inner lips) of her vagina.
She is among a growing number of women signing up for labiaplasty to reduce the size and “enhance the appearance” of their private parts, especially when they’re wearing tight-fitting clothes such as workout gear.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Surgery (ASAPS,) there has been a significant increase in the number of these tissue removal and restructuring procedures — an astonishing 48 percent rise in 2014 from 2013.
“More women are pursuing labiaplasty to correct labia-related issues that are interfering with their ability to perform sexually, to perform daily tasks such as exercise, or are merely causing discomfort,” says Dr. Michael Edwards of ASAPS.
On New York’s Upper East Side, Swift reports that a large number of his clients are motivated by wanting to look sleeker in so-called “athleisure wear,” made from Lycra-like fabrics which often compress the area.
They are keen to avoid so-called “camel toe” or internal “twisting” when they’re working out at top exercise venues such as SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp and the Fhitting Room.
As for Veronica, she now feels more relaxed when she wears tight workout gear. “I often used to get caught up inside myself and it hurt,” she explains. “But I never like wearing exercise outfits [that] are too loose.”
She says her boyfriend approves of her new look, which was achieved during an hour-long operation under local anesthetic and required around three days of convalescence.
“I did this for myself, not anyone else,” insists Veronica, who hit the gym again around three weeks after the procedure. “I’m about the happiest you can be.”
Meanwhile, 40-year-old Maria T., another of Swift’s labiaplasty patients, who also asked for anonymity, claims that self-consciousness about her pelvic region used to impact what she wore — especially for exercise.
Now, eight years since she had the op, she’s happy to wear trendy Lululemon pants to her yoga class.
“I am very happy with the result,” says the Manhattan-dwelling mother of two. “When it comes to that part of my body, it’s a definite case of ‘less is more.’ ”